There’s beauty in taking it off.
By Tamara Curl-Green
Lauren Napier’s philosophy spawned a brand that has taken the beauty industry by storm. More than just a makeup remover, Lauren Napier Beauty’s cleansing wipes are a skin care staple specially formulated to tackle issues ranging from acne to dryness. The brand’s founder, Lauren Napier, has firsthand knowledge of the ritual of makeup application and removal.
“As a makeup artist, I would see people remove their makeup with a feeling that there was nothing better. It was like a reverse reveal and I really felt like it was important to embrace that feeling,” Napier said. With a roster of clients that includes Oscar winners, music and pop icons, film and tv stars, and a former US President, Napier’s work as a makeup artist is well-known and widely respected.
Ambition and entrepreneurial drive sent Napier on a mission to celebrate the beauty that exists under the makeup. “Beauty is so focused on our insecurities. My goal is to help embrace what is being shamed by industry,” Napier stated. “There is a ceremony that comes with applying makeup and a sadness with taking that day away, but at same time there’s a sense of relief to see yourself again.”
As she weathered the challenges of building a brand, Napier witnessed the lack of support that many black female founders experience. In the summer of 2020, she set out to do something about it. Of her advocacy, Napier said, “I launched Consider Something Better, to be a champion for women whose voices may not otherwise be heard, specifically Black women in the entrepreneurship space. We are challenging the corporations and conglomerates to give back through programs and monetary donations and grants to grow and scale businesses and to close the barrier of entry for these businesses.”
Napier’s work with Consider Something Better is washing away the prejudices of the past to help the industry reveal something fresh—a new crop of founders with innovative brands and voices. And in that way, there is most certainly beauty in taking it all off.
“What’s inspiring right now is this openness and interest and focus on diversity and inclusivity. Getting to the core of what the unseen and underserved woman is looking for.”
Get to Know – Lauren Napier
What was the impetus to start Lauren Napier Beauty?
As a makeup artist, I would see people remove their makeup with a feeling that there was nothing better. It was like a reverse reveal and I really felt like it was important to embrace that feeling. Beauty is so focused on our insecurities. My goal is to help embrace what is being shamed by industry. There is a ceremony that comes with applying makeup and a sadness with taking that day away, but at same time there’s a sense of relief to see yourself again.
Everything in the line was intentional. The wipes are made using solar energy, they are recyclable, made in the USA and biodegradable.
Do you have a beauty philosophy? What is it?
There’s beauty in taking it off. Show your skin, your face and who you are.
Where are you from originally? Where do you live now?
I live in NY now, was born in Vegas and raised in Texas. Growing up in Texas and Vegas shaped my desire and love for beauty and aesthetics. Between the two it gave me this idea of what is glamorous. At the same time, I always had a personal style that is effortless and minimalist.
What were some of your first memories of beauty growing up? What are some early beauty influences? (family/relatives, culture, era)
I grew up in Texas, in the south as a Black woman, so my family was at church on Sundays. We would always dress up, there was a very distinguished elegance where I grew up.
Some early beauty influences include Ann Richards, the Governor of Texas who was super outspoken, but always meticulously coiffed. But then things like Sade, Holly Robinson Peete and Diana Ross. Especially the Diana Ross album where she wore a white t-shirt and jeans and her hair is wet. She is not overstyled, she looks amazing and approachable but also so beautiful you cannot even touch her. Also, Cree Summer, Lisa Bonet and Robin Givens, the beauty of wild big hair and beautiful skin, a wash of color on the lips and natural skin.
What inspires you most about the beauty landscape and industry today?
What’s inspiring right now is this openness and interest and focus on diversity and inclusivity. Getting to the core of what the unseen and underserved woman is looking for. That new voices and points of view are being seen, heard and valued.
What has been the biggest challenge in starting your business?
The first thing is just to start. Being an entrepreneur is not always fun, it is a test of will, of your own perseverance and persistence and desire to the strength of your message. But what is the most challenging is that while Black women have a voice and what we do has a ripple effect on beauty and fashion that originated from the minds of Black women, even though we have influence, there is no respect.
When it comes to funding and venture capital, Black women receive 2% of capital. We are historically underfunded through traditional lending. There is systemic economic injustice all around us, yet we still need to be able to create, have a voice and a point of view.
I am working on bringing awareness to this issue to help Black female led businesses to get funding and to grow and scale their brands. This summer, I launched Consider Something Better, to advocate and be a champion for women whose voices may not otherwise be heard, specifically Black women in the entrepreneurship space. We are challenging the corporations and conglomerates to give back through programs and monetary donations and grants to grow and scale businesses and to close the barrier of entry for these businesses.
What has been the biggest win thus far?
The biggest win so far is breaking down the idea that Black women don’t embrace luxury. Black women enjoy luxury products and skincare. But in those spaces people are not talking to us, but extracting the culture.
I am proud to be creating a product that has that point of view. Anybody who washes their face can use it.
What would you like to see more of in the beauty industry when it comes to diversity and inclusivity?
It’s definitely all of the above, but I really want to see Black beauty get the same level of investment that our white contemporaries will receive. What I’ve done on my own should peak an investor's interest because I am scrappy. But the reality is I didn’t start with a million dollars I started with a tax refund and a really good idea. We’ve got to start investing, not just through lip service and black squares on IG or the notion of diversity, equity and inclusion. We need deliberate action for more opportunities of economic empowerment, freedom and justice for Black-owned businesses. On top of that, I believe we have to service a community of women who historically spend 9 times more on beauty and skincare.
What I like to tell these people is that you're talking to people who are resilient and industrious and because we are it’s going to make it happen with or without you, it’s wise to get on board now. You don’t want to be standing in the station, you want to be on the train.